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On court, one can see Ziad Al-Turki busy with officials, giving away trophies to squash greats and brushing shoulders with celebrities. At his business, he is engaged in bringing new ideas to fruition and developing the group. In short, always busy and a lot of travelling to do as well.
But how is life off court and away from the office for this father of three. Let’s find out …
You have a philosophy of empowerment of staff. In terms of your children, how are you giving them direction?
I have a boy and two girls. Abdulrahman is 23; Sharifa 20; and Alia 16. I think with kids you just give them the opportunity and let them find their own path. I am the chairman of the Professional Squash Association and every coach asks me why don’t your kids play squash. It’s because they don’t want to. My son plays, but it doesn’t mean he has to be a professional. I guide them, try to teach them the difference between right and wrong to make them good humans. They have to decide on their own what they want to do. As a parent you can guide; you cannot force.
What are the children doing?
All went to school in England and all are in the US right now. Abdulrahman is a tremendous athlete and after he finished school, he really did not know what to do. I did not push him to university and told him to take his time. Then he decided he wanted to continue his studies and went to the US and he is doing quite well in university and will finish next year. He wants to give professional squash a go.
Abdulrahman obviously has had the ATCO bug in him since he was a kid. So he does not see himself doing anything other than working for ATCO. Sharifa is a very strong girl and entrepreneurial. She wants to do her own thing.
My philosophy is, do what you want to do now; because when you are 50 or 60, you should not look back and think I wish I did this or that. Do it when you can. I don’t believe in pushing, let them find their own way.
How do you relax?
Well, I love diving and motorcycles. For me, being underwater is one of the greatest things in the world and motorcycle riding is just wonderful.
How did you balance time?
People will always say that they don’t have enough time. But I do know, we have enough time to do a lot and we can create time for what we like. I still have enough time to exercise and play squash; go diving and ride a motorcycle. There is always enough time for the family too. I remember uncle Khalid saying it is unhealthy to be constantly consumed by one thing. I am consumed by everything – by work, by squash, by my family and by my hobbies.
What is your passion in life?
I can’t stay in one place, I am bit of a nomad. You go to the US, you miss home and you come home and then you miss the US. And when I am in the US, I want to be in England. That’s what being in the US does to you; you meet people from everywhere and realise we are all the same.
Who has had big influence on you?
My father was a major influence in my life, he allowed me to grow and find my bearing. My mother and sisters were also a big influence. Most women in the family have very strong character. My grandmother from my father’s side, who raised me when mother was away, was a very strong woman. I spent a lot of time with my uncles, who also helped in moulding my character. Basically, I have a little bit of all of them in me. Family has been the driving force for me.
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